Enzymes: The tiny and enormous difference between raw and cooked foods
Virtually all chronic degenerative diseases are caused or aggravated by
digestive problems. After the most extensive study on nutrition ever undertaken
by the government, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human
Needs concluded in its 1978 report entitled “Diet and Killer Diseases,”
that the average American diet is responsible for the development of chronic
degenerative diseases such as heart disease, atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes,
stroke, etc. Many of the most common health complaints revolve around a
20-foot, mucus-lined tube that directly interfaces us with our environment.
This is no mystery: This is the gastro-intestinal tract, affectionately
abbreviated “GI.” The job of the GI is to alchemically transmute
the food we eat into our flesh, blood, actions, thoughts and feelings…
with a little help from our friends the salivary glands, the pancreas,
the liver, and most importantly RAW FOOD — all of which provide (now we’re
getting to the point) ENZYMES.
Enzymes are delicate dynamos. Delicate because they are destroyed by temperatures
over 118 degrees (some by as little as 105 degrees), which means that they
may not survive even light steaming. Dynamos because they are powerful
biochemical catalysts; they speed burning or building reactions in the body
according to need. They are specialized proteins, often with long complicated
names ending in -ase.
The three primary digestive enzymes are protease, lipase and amylase which
digest, respectively, protein, fat (lipids), and carbohydrates (which includes
sugars). Amylase comes from the salivary glands: carbohydrates start digesting
right in our mouth. Have you ever chewed a piece of bread or potato for
an extra moment before swallowing, and tasted how sweet it is? (It is a
good idea to chew our foods thoroughly; literally making juice in our mouths
before swallowing.) Lipase is synthesized principally in the liver and
protease comes from the pancreas.
Although the enzyme-producing organs continue to function over the entire
course of a healthy life, they eventually wear down, especially with the
“standard American diet” (which, in the naturopathic community,
we call SAD.) Dr. Francis M. Pottenger’s nutritional studies have shown
that a regular diet of cooked or canned foods causes the development of
chronic degenerative diseases and premature mortality. Professor Jackson
of the Dept. of Anatomy, University of Minnesota, has shown that rats fed for 135 days on an 80 percent
cooked food diet resulted in an increase pancreatic weight of 20 to 30 percent.
What this means is that the pancreas is forced to work harder with a cooked
food diet. “Although the body can manufacture enzymes, the more you
use your enzyme potential, the faster it is going to run out…” wrote
Dr. Edward Howell, who pioneered research in the benefits of food enzymes.
A youth of 18 may produce amylase levels 30 times greater than those of
an 85 year old person.
Enzymes are what make seeds sprout. Sprouts are, in fact, one of the richest
sources of enzymes. Other excellent sources are papaya, pineapple and the
aspergillus plant. Science cannot duplicate enzymes, because they are the
stuff of life itself. Only raw food has functional “live” enzymes.
Therefore the liver, pancreas, stomach and intestines must come to the
rescue and furnish the requisite digestive enzymes to the individual nourished
solely on a cooked food diet.
This extra activity can be detrimental to health and longevity because it
continually taxes the reserve energy of our organs. Furthermore, cooked
food passes through the digestive tract more slowly than raw food, tends
to ferment, and throws poisons back into the body. Colon cancer is second
only to lung cancer as a killer in America and is related, in various ways,
to eating enzyme-deficient cooked food. Prolonged intestinal toxemia may
manifest the following symptoms: Fatigue, nervousness, gasto-intestinal
discomfort, recurrent infections, skin eruptions, hormonal disturbances,
headaches, arthritis, sciatica, low back pain, allergies, asthma, eye, ear,
nose and throat disorders, cardiac irregularities, pathological changes
in the breasts, and so forth. All of these conditions have been shown to
respond to therapy directed to correcting the bowel toxemia. Of course,
it is important to have fiber in the diet to scrub the colon walls clean,
but even more important are the enzymes which will allow proper digestion
and assimilation of vital nutrients. Cooked food often passes into the
bloodstream as unsplit molecules that are deposited, as waste, in various
parts of the body. If it is a fat molecule we know it as cholesterol plaque;
if calcium, arthritis; if sugar, diabetes. White blood cell count rises
dramatically after ingesting a meal of canned or cooked foods (“digestive
leukocytosis”). Elevated WBCs are correlated to bacterial infection,
inflammation and depressed immunity. Raw foods do not produce this reaction.
All raw foods contain exactly the right enzymes required to split every
last molecule into the basic building blocks of metabolism: Amino acids
(from protein), glucose (from complex carbohydrates) and essential fatty
acids (from unsaturated vegetable fats).
You are what you ate: Eat living foods (at least once daily!).